The façade of transparency

  • And of zero tolerance for corruption

Prime Minister Imran Khan is never tired of emphasizing the need for transparency. It is therefore justified to expect that his government would relentlessly focus on openness and on putting an end to corruption even within PTI ranks. So far the PM’s posturing has neither reduced corruption nor enhanced transparency in government’s dealings. Pakistan’s ranking in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index for the year 2019 dropped from 117 to 120, slipping three spots from the previous year’s place. This is despite all the noise by the government about giving no quarter to the corrupt. The way the PTI government has refused to divulge its sources of foreign funding makes its rhetoric about transparency questionable.

For nearly two years the PTI continued to refuse to share its bank statements with the Scrutiny Committee set up by the Election Commission of Pakistan till ordered by the State Bank of Pakistan. Meanwhile it denied receiving funds from any objectionable source. It appears that the PTI has concluded that it might not be possible any more to keep the sources of foreign funding a secret in the presence of FATF’s penchant for openness in international monetary transfers and the pressure from the PDM which has decided to hold a sit-in outside the office of the ECP on Tuesday against the delay by the Commission in delivering its verdict in the foreign funding case.

In its latest reply submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan the PTI has taken an about-turn over its earlier stand that it had not collected funds from any objectionable source, maintaining instead that the party would not be responsible for its agents having collected money from such a source.

Imran Khan’s statement that Broadsheet revelations about the ruling elite were only a ‘tip of the iceberg’ has acquired an ironic ring after revelations by the Broadsheet LLC owner Kaveh Moussavi that an unnamed man who was a part of a government delegation visiting London with PM’s Advisor Shahzad Akbar in 2018 had asked for a cut as he spoke of a bank account with “stolen $1 billion”. Will the PM take action against the man?

The Editorial Board of Profit can be contacted at: [email protected].

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